Moments that Made the Movies

Moments that Made the Movies

  1. David Thomson
  • ISBN 9780500291559
  • 25.70 x 20.60 cm
  • Paperback with flaps
  • 320pp
  • With 264 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2014

New in paperback, an unprecedented visual journey re-examining a series of moments from seventy-two films across 100 years

‘David Thomson is the best writer on film in our time. He is our most argumentative and trustworthy historian of the screen’ – Michael Ondaatje
'Probably the greatest living film critic and historian … writes the most fun and enthralling prose about the movies since Pauline Kael'— Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly
‘Thomson has been one of the liveliest, most literate, productive, provocative and daring movie critics for more than 40 years … elegantly designed and handsomely produced … witty and full of insights’ – The Independent

It’s rare that a critic writing about a moment, or moments, on film has the opportunity to show them simultaneously to his readers. But in Moments that Made the Movies, with its dynamic combination of text and image, David Thomson has done just that.

Moments that Made the Movies

Focusing in on one scene, or a few seconds of celluloid, his book finds and displays those uniquely revealing moments in an array of films both widely familiar and nearly forgotten. As the author writes:

‘... there are surprises, offbeat choices, perhaps even capricious or provocative selections, as well as plenty of films that you might have guessed would be included – though not always with the moments you anticipated.’

Thomson’s memorable choices range from the silent era to this decade, from Katharine Hepburn and Orson Welles to Brad Pitt and the Coen brothers, and include:

Pandora’s Box
Bringing Up Baby
Gone With the Wind
The Shop Around the Corner
Tokyo Story
The Night of the Hunter
The Searchers
The Exterminating Angel
Pierrot le Fou
Bonnie and Clyde
The Godfather
The Shining
When Harry Met Sally…
A History of Violence
The Piano Teacher

… plus dozens more

This new edition contains added entries on 24, The Way Back, Stories We Tell and All is Lost.

In the first fully illustrated work of his illustrious career, David Thomson re-examines a series of moments – which readers will experience in beautifully reproduced imagery – from seventy-four carefully selected films across a hundred-year time span. The author whom John Banville has hailed as ‘the greatest living writer on the movies’ takes readers on an unprecedented visual journey. Thomson’s moments range from a set of Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photographs to sequences in films from the classic – Citizen Kane, Sunset Blvd. and The Red Shoes – to the unexpected – The Piano Teacher, Burn After Reading – immersing the reader via a groundbreaking marriage of images and the author’s accompanying narrative.

David Thomson is the film critic for The New Republic. In the 1970s, he was director of film studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. In the 1980s he was on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival. He was the screenwriter on the award-winning documentary film The Making of a Legend: Gone With the Wind. Over the years he has written regularly for The Independent and The Guardian, but he is probably best known for a series of groundbreaking books: The Biographical Dictionary of Film (now in its sixth edition); Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick; The Whole Equation; Have You Seen …? and The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies. Born in London in 1941 and educated at Dulwich College and the London School of Film Technique, he now lives in San Francisco.